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Western Animation / Rocko's Modern Life

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Clockwise from top left: Spunky, Mrs. Bighead, Mr. Bighead, Filburt, Heffer, Rocko.

Rocko's Modern Life (1993–1996) is one of Nickelodeon's most famous Nicktoons, and the 4th overall, created by illustrator and cartoonist Joe Murray. It stars Rocko (Carlos Alazraqui), a mild-mannered young wallaby from Australia, adjusting to life on his own in the hectic metropolis of O-Town.

Most of Rocko's days were "very dangerous days", in which A Simple Plan like a trip to the laundromat or just trying to keep his job was met with bad luck and other weirdness. In later episodes, Rocko's friends Heffer (Tom Kenny) — a gluttonous, not-too-bright, but amiable bovine who was literally Raised by Wolves — and Filburt (Mr. Lawrence) — a neurotic, hypochondriac turtle — were often dragged along for the ride. Rocko would also find himself butting heads with his cranky next door neighbors, middle-aged toad couple Ed and Bev Bighead (Charlie Adler).

The writers had an amazing talent for getting away with a lot of risqué material, making The Ren & Stimpy Show's attempts look amateur and obvious by comparison (although Ren & Stimpy focused more on shock value). At least two episodes, "Leap Frogs" and "Heff in a Handbasket", were banned after their original airings for their raunchier-than-normal content and certain episodes (i.e. "Road Rash", where Rocko and Heffer encounter a shady motel ran by a stereotypical Asian) had scenes that were cut from broadcast.

Shout! Factory released the complete series to DVD in 2013. While it includes the banned episodes, it also excludes several scenes from others ("Hut Sut Raw", "The Good, the Bad, and the Wallaby", "Road Rashed", and "Wacky Delly"), forcing completionist fans to seek them elsewhere.note 

The pilot episode was animated by Murray's own studio. The rest was animated by Sunwoo (76 episodes) and Rough Draft Studios (27 episodes).

Other media includes:

Elements of the series also appear in:

  • Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker (1996): Content from this show is available in this version of the software.
  • Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots (2007): Rocko is an unlockable character.
  • Nickelodeon Kart Racers series (2020, 2022): Rocko and Heffer are playable in the second game. Rocko returns in the third, with Heffer appearing as a crew member.
  • Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl series (2022, 2023): Rocko was released as Downloadable Content for the first game alongside a stage themed off his house in 2022. Rocko and his stage return in the second game.
  • Smite (2022): Rocko appears as a DLC skin for Danzaburo added in 2022.

Very dangerous tropes:

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    Tropes A-H 
  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Played for Laughs with Widow Hutchison in "The Big Answer".
    • Played straight with Peaches in "To Heck and Back".
  • Absurd Altitude: Several times Rocko ends up in a location above the clouds, or even on the edge of space. The roller coaster in "Carnival Knowledge", the stadium seats in "Spitballs", the mountaintop in "Snowballs".
  • Accidental Pervert: Everyone who has the misfortune to bump into Gladys the Hippo Lady.
  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: In "Rocko's Happy Sack", Rocko tries to convince a guy who's unknowingly buying Spunky to not buy dog meat, and lists off the various ingredients in such a thing, including PCBs, MSGs and BVDs.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In "An Elk for Heffer", after first meeting Elkie, Heffer is so flustered that he forgets his name. While trying to think of it, he lists several others— the first being Tom.note 
    • Widow Hutchison is voiced by Kevin Meaney. And one point, she says "Turtles and cats together. That's not right." And it wasn't the first time he played a woman.
  • Actually, That's My Assistant: Peaches (as mentioned below) is not the overlord of Heck. His shadowy, beanie-wearing boss is.
  • Adam Westing: Richard Simmons appears in the first episode as a flamboyant aerobics instructor.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: In "Rocko's Modern Christmas", Rocko notices that it's hard to believe it's Christmas Eve in O-Town, and asks Spunky, "Where's the Winter Wonderland? Where's the Warm, friendly gatherings?"
  • Aerith and Bob: The elves in "Rocko's Modern Christmas" have a varying degree of names (i.e. Jigsaw, Drill, Screwdriver, etc.), except for Mitch.
  • Affectionate Nickname: "Turtledove" and "Turtle soup" for Filburt. Bev gets quite a few from Ed such as "Polliwog" and "Lovely loads". There's also a handful of times where Rocko is called "Fuzzy" and his parents call him "Boo-Boo".
  • Affirmative Action Girl: Due to Executive Meddling opposition to The Smurfette Principle, Dr. Hutchinson was born, with awesome results.
  • Alien Abduction:
    • Heffer get's abducted by aliens in "Cruisin" but when he sees the aliens, that look almost exactly like him, both think the other one is too ugly and they throw him back.
    • Filburt gets abducted by aliens at the end of "Speaking Terms".
  • All Just a Dream: Played with in "To Heck and Back". After Rocko presumably saved Heffer from the clutches of Peaches in Heck, as they leave to go to the movies and Heffer asks if they can stop at another fast food place, Rocko suddenly says in Peaches's booming voice "Have you learned NOTHING?" and pulls off his Latex Perfection mask to reveal Peaches's cackling milk-squirting udder head. Heffer then wakes up in his room from the dream (in Catapult Nightmare fashion), feeling he should lay off eating certain foods. As Heffer looks out the window and sees it's a beautiful day, his house unmasks to reveal Peaches's evilly-laughing head, and Heffer wakes up again inside a snack box, screaming.
  • All There in the Manual: Joe Murray's original description for Rocko, reprinted in the book Not Just Cartoons: Nicktoons!, reveals that the character's last name is Rama, and over the course of the series, he happens to be 20 years old. As a matter of fact, several of the businesses in O-Town (such as Bowl-O-Rama) pay homage to this.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • Heffer's adoptive brother Peter is a cheerleader and wears a skirt in two episodes, to the horror of his father.
    • Not to mention Rocko being hunted by his neighbors after confessing that he "likes rainbows", though every other episode usually has him trying to win a new girlfriend, and he marries Heffer in a fairy-tale situation.
    • The Chameleon Brothers Chuck and Leon. They are at their most flamboyant during "Camera Shy", when they speak in the swishiest Mexican accents imaginable and call Rocko "baby" and "honey".
    • The lisping genie in "Scrubbing Down Under".
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Filburt naturally, as he is a Woody Allen caricature.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: In "Snowballs", the ski resort advertises that everything is $5. What they meant is that every thing costs $5 each, something Rocko learns the hard way.
  • And Then I Said: "...Rock 'em sock 'em!"
  • And You Were There: In "Short Story", Rocko dreams about what it would be like to be tall - really tall. Upon waking up in his bed, he's greeted by the others seen in his dream - except for that guy that looks like Joe Murray.
  • Angrish: In "Commuted Sentence", this is Mr. Smitty's response to the third time Rocko shows up late for work.
  • Angry Guard Dog: The Recurring Character, Earl. Usually a psychotic stray.
  • Angry Mob Song: Parodied with a bit of Lyrical Dissonance in "Zanzibar". Rocko rallies the other citizens of O-Town against Conglom-O due to the latter's polluting practices, but they're cheery the entire time.
    Rocko: We demand to see the board of directors!
    Security Guard: And you would be?
    Heffer: We're a big unruly mob!
    Other Citizens: (singing happily) We're a big unruly mob!
  • Animal Jingoism:
    • Spoofed in "The Big Question" and its Sequel Episode "The Big Answer", where cats and turtles are stated to have a natural rivalry. The rivalry solely exists to create tension between the cats and turtles when Filburt and Dr. Hutchison marry.
    • Played straight (albeit subtly) with Rocko's relationship with Ed: Cane toads (Ed's species) are an invasive species in Australia. Ed and Rocko's relationship is strained, though this is mostly one-sided on Ed's part.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Rocko the wallaby seems about 3 feet or so tall, making him the only realistically sized animal on the show (along with Spunky, though as he is not humanoid this doesn't count), compared to him Heffer the steer and Dr. Hutchinson the cat (presumably of the house variety) look normal human size, about 5 and a half to six feet, Filburt the turtle is in-between, while the Bigheads who are cane toads are maybe 6 and a half feet tall, with their heads counting for at least half of that; their adult son Ralph who does not have a large head, but has about the same body height, is a little taller than Rocko, not counting his hair.
  • Animal Sweet on Object: One episode sees Spunky falling in love with a mop. It's unclear if this is because Spunky thinks the mop is another dog, or because Spunky just very, very stupid.
  • Animated Actors: The flies from "Canned", which ends with them escaping from the spider's web with ease and leaving after being told that it's a wrap.
  • Animation Bump: In "Bedfellows", when Rocko stuffs an empty glass fishbowl over Heffer's face to drown out his loud snoring. When Heffer snores with the fishbowl on, he moves in a very smooth and fluid manner.
  • Anything but That!: From "Trash-O-Madness":
    Rocko: ...What is that in your mouth? It's not that slime from the refrigerator, is it? YOU BROUGHT THAT SMUT IN THE BATHTUB, SPUNK?! Get rid of it! No...wait...Spunky...I didn't mean to... Not in the water...NOT IN THE- SPUNKY! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Applied Mathematics: Mr. Smitty's "time is money" lecture to Rocko in "Commuted Sentence".
  • April Fools' Day: In 2013, TeenNick said it would air a Lost Episode of the series at midnight on April 1st. It ended up literally being Dead Air with the Wacky Delly mayonnaise episode (followed by an airing of "Wacky Delly" itself)
  • Art Evolution: It improves with each passing season, with Season Four (being animated by Rough Draft Korea instead of Sunwoo Entertainment) being the most noticeable. At first, the characters have round eyes with black dot pupils, and the color palette for the whole show seems really light and bland; later however, characters have different shaped (and sized in some cases) eyes with colored pupils, colors are far more bolder and brighter, and outlines are also much stronger.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Squirmy the Ringworm. Contrary to what the name suggests, ringworm infection is not caused by a parasitic worm. It's actually caused by a fungus.
    • Filburt's shell has a hinged door (the top dot) that for a while a pair of squirrels were living in. Never mind all the times he took it off.
  • Art Shift: An unintentional one occurs in "Trash-o-Madness", which repeatedly shifts between the original, domestically-animated pilot footage and the Sunwoo-animated footage added to the pilot to fill the eleven-minute runtime.
  • Ascended Extra: Filburt started as a random character doing odd jobs before he got promoted to Rocko's other friend.
    Filburt: You turn a page, then wash your hands. And then you turn a page, and then you wash your hands.
  • Ass Shove: Implied during Rocko's checkup with "Dr." Bendova.
  • Asshole Victim: Ed Bighead. He usually gets what's coming to him for his Jerkass demeanor in most episodes.
  • Astronomic Zoom: In "Hut Sut Raw", while Rocko, Heffer and Filburt are trying to make their way out of the forest, Filburt proclaims, "We're lost!" The camera suddenly cuts back farther and farther until it's in space. At which point, Rocko says, "Maybe we are lost."
    • "Dirty Dog" opens in space, with Earth scratching itself before zooming into Rocko's neighborhood.
  • Attack of the Political Ad: "Ed Good, Rocko Bad" centers on Mr. Bighead deciding to challenge Rocko in a campaign for town dog catcher, he takes out an ad suggesting that Rocko is responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire, the sinking of the Titanic, and the 1958 Edsel. An "artist rendering" of Rocko depicts him with sharp teeth, a menacing demeanor and a speech bubble reading, "I'm mean."
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Ed and Bev Bighead.
  • Backstory Horror: Invoked with Heffer having been abandoned by the side of a road out in the middle of nowhere by his biological parents before finally being found underneath a tree by a bunch of hungry wolves that were originally going to eat him before they suddenly realized, at the very last second, how irresistibly cute and innocent they found him to be, hence why he is adopted in the show proper.
  • Bad Boss: Mr. Smitty. In "Day of the Flecko", he forces Rocko to stay after closing time and draw a missing whisker on every new comic book before he leaves. And in "Commuted Sentence", he freaks out if Rocko is even a second late for work.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In "Jet Scream", a bratty kid is giving Rocko hell during a plane ride, so Rocko grabs him by the throat and calmly shoves the kid into an overhead bin. When he closes the bin, the other passengers all give him dirty looks, then erupt into cheers.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: This line from Ed in the banned episode "Leap Frogs" to Rocko:
    Ed: You saw my wife in her bath robe?!...Isn't it awful?
  • Bait-and-Switch Silhouette: One episode has Rocko on a dating show and having to choose between three silhouettes, and he picks the third one of a woman with an hourglass figure. After seeing and learning how awesome the two women he didn't choose are, the "woman" he did pick was revealed to be none other than Heffer, to his absolute shock and horror.
  • Bankruptcy Barrel:
    • A variation is used in "Bedfellows", where Rocko covers up his nudity by wearing a trashcan.
    • A more traditional example occurs in "Fly Burgers", where Fleck gets the idea to slap Rocko with a Frivolous Lawsuit from watching an advertisement that features a brief scene of a character wearing a barrel.
  • Baseball Episode: "Spitballs".
  • Bathroom Control: In "Tickled Pinky", Rocko's sentient organs are shown attending a school. A living bladder says he has to use the bathroom, but Ms. Pancreas tells him to wait until she's done taking attendance.
  • The Bermuda Triangle: "Cruisin'" sees Rocko board a senior cruise ship with Heffer and his grandfather and passes through the Bermuda Triangle. After some Deranged Animation, it turns every old person on the ship young, and every young person old.
  • Berserk Button: Literally, there's one on Mr. Smitty's chair, and it's green. DON'T EVER TOUCH THAT!
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Rocko. Typically the sweetest, most humble creature imaginable — until you push him a bit too far. He has cowed antagonists with nothing more than a ranting summation of everything he's been through and a threat to "do something NOT NICE!!"
  • Big Eater: Heffer.
  • Big "NEVER!": Fantastically done by Ralph Bighead in "I Have No Son!"
  • Big "NO!": Done by Filburt twice in "Power Trip", first when he sees Rocko suddenly looking like Mr. Smitty, and again a few seconds later when Rocko fires him and sends him tumbling down the stairs.
    • In "I See London, I See France", the tour guide (fantastically done by Tom Kenny), after chasing Rocko and Heffer all day, lets one drop as their plane departs.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Various characters as a Running Gag, especially Rocko.
  • Bilingual Bonus: More like "Three Weeks of Spanish 101 Bonus", but "Boob Tubed" has Rocko, Filburt and Heffer watching a Spanish Soap Opera and bursting into tears at the delivery of the line: "Maria, este libro esta tarde! Voy a la biblioteca."note  ("Maria, the book is late [overdue], I'm going to the library!")
    • Also in "Sand in Your Navel" when Rocko is thrown into the water by Gladys the Hippo - he lands on top of a crab and it yells "me pica culo!"note  This translates to "my ass itches".
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: "Wacky Delly" was basically one big Take That! to Nickelodeon and their process involving animated shows.
  • Black Comedy: This show has more than its share of dark jokes.
    • "Power Trip" begins with Really Really Big Man accidentally hurling his sidekick Jimmy into the sun.
    • In "Spitballs", a baseball player cheers at catching what he thinks is a baseball, only to become horrified to find a severed head in his catcher's mitt.
    • "Rocko's Happy Sack" has a gag where a starving insect finds a crumb. He jubilantly declares "It's Thanksgiving", but ends up falling over dead before he can eat the crumb.
    • In "Flu-in-u-Enza", while Rocko and Heffer are sitting at a waiting room in the doctor's office, a bird sitting adjacent to Rocko is shown coughing and hacking and eventually coughs out his heart, which prompts him to fall to the floor dead.
    • In "Who's for Dinner?", Rocko excuses himself while at the Wolfes' house and finds a bunch of bound and gagged pigs in the bathroom mirror as well as a bunch of red-cloaked girls with picnic baskets in a closet, presumably awaiting to be eaten by the Wolfe family.
    • In "With Friends Like These", Heffer and Filburt are competing to get Rocko's attention so one of them can be picked by Rocko to accompany him to a wrestling match. When Heffer calls out to Rocko in front of a movie theater, telling him about the time they saw a movie together, Filburt blows up the theater, presumably killing everyone inside.
    • Possibly the worst in the series, or one of the worst, which blatantly does a car version of prison rape. In the episode "Commuted Sentence", Rocko's car gets impounded. The car calls Rocko on the phone to bail him out. Meanwhile, a big truck is laughing behind him, then glares at him. Rocko's car gets even more scared, and tells Rocko to hurry. Then we cut to Rocko, who hears car creaking and scraping noises over the phone. Later, Rocko goes to bail his car out, and his car is behind the gate trembling and shaking. The guard tells Rocko that his car got the name "Fancy Fenders", as a term of endearment. A later episode may call back to this. Rocko's car dies, and we see its soul floating away. Behind him, "HIV" is spelled on the wall. Possibly from the vehicle(s) he was raped by in jail.
    • "Mama's Boy" has a Running Gag of Heffer's mother calling him out of worry and Heffer telling her he's just fine on his own while he's obviously in a horrible situation. The gag eventually escalates to Heffer telling his mother everything is fine even though he's in jail, about to be executed, and in Hell.
    • In "Kiss Me, I'm Foreign", Filburt uses a Squirrel Away grenade to get rid of a couple of squirrels living in his shell. It actually kills them, and their ghosts floating up to heaven look like roadkill. Then they kiss.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: In "Kiss Me, I'm Foreign", a random rabbit does Filburt's "Turn the page, wash your hands" shtick in the comic book store.
    • In "Sailing the Seven Zzzz's", Rocko does Dr. Hutchinson's "'Kay?", complete with head tilt.
  • Bowled Over: In "Schnit-Heads", a religious cult based on sausage wants to go "bowling for sinners" with our heroes.
    Rocko: You can't chuck bowling balls at us!
    Cult Leader: Yes we can. Says so in the Great Book of Bratwurst. "And if there is one among you who does not follow the ways of the Schnitzel, let that one go, and do not throw bowling balls at them."
    Rocko: You see? It says let us go.
    Cult Leader: It's a matter of interpretation.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    • In "Keeping Up With the Bigheads", Heffer mixes what little paint Rocko has of each color in a stewpot to make a lot of one to paint his house. When Rocko looks in the stewpot, he says that the paint looks sort of brown or green. Heffer decides to call this new color "Breen".
    • From "Cabin Fever":
    Heffer: (trying to guess what Ed Bighead's shadow puppets are) A radiator! Either a hose or a radiator, or a piece of radiator hose. I win!
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall/Think of the Censors!: When Heffer finds himself in Heck with Peaches.
    Heffer: Heck? Don't you mean...
    Peaches: Woop! Censors!
  • Broken Record: In "Pranksters", a weary Heffer says "Yes, Granny Rocko…" over and over amidst Granny Rocko's Note constant commands. But once he suspects her of really being Rocko in drag, he puts more emphasis on the word "Rocko," so it sounds more like "Yes, Granny rrrROCKO!"
  • Brown Bag Mask: Rocko has to wear one after Heffer gives him a terrible haircut in "Hair Licked" and takes him to the Chameleon Brothers' hair stylist shop. It's also spoofed when Heffer initially looks at the results of his haircut attempt, and when offering to make a mask for Rocko he asks like a grocer, "Paper or plastic?" (Rocko should be grateful Heffer didn't just go with the plastic bag.)
  • Buffy Speak: Kind-Of-A-Lot O Comics.
    Filburt: Follow that motor-scooter-bike... thing!
  • Bully Hunter: Filburt and Heffer become this when Rocko's bully came back to town. What they didn't know was that he was a Reformed Bully and that he and Rocko had settled things amicably by the latter punching him once as payback.
  • Butt-Monkey: As bad as it can get for Rocko, it is always worse for Ed Bighead (who, to be fair, usually deserves it).
  • Butt Sticker: Twice.
    • "Rocko's Happy Sack" while Rocko is shopping he gets crushed by the Hippo Lady's butt and gets stuck there.
    • "Bye Bye Birdie" when Heffer sits on the couch, he is unaware that he sat on Filburt's bird. They scream when Rocko and Heffer find it stuck to Heffer's butt.
  • Call-Back: In "Wacky Delly", Ralph Bighead says, "Yeah, Rocko!" over and over, which is similar to when Rocko said "Yeah, Melba!" over and over in "Love Spanked".
  • Calling Your Nausea: Filburt had "I'm nauseous. I'm nauseous." as something of a Running Gag, though the episode that ended with them in a submarine had him finally vomit as it irised out.
  • Captain Ersatz: Who else thought the head gardener guy in "Teed Off" reminded them of Darth Vader?
  • Caretaker Reversal: Happens in the episode "Yarn Benders", which begins with Filburt getting sick after being caught in the rain and ends with Rocko and Heffer catching the illness after mangling a few fairy tales that they're reading to Filb.
  • Carnivore Confusion: The entire Rocko society is a one big heap of carnivore confusion.
    • The "Chokey Chicken" fast food franchise apparently hires chickens... who are then processed for meat. Cattle are likewise sentient.
    • Heffer, a steer, eats burgers, fish, sausage and steaks. Heffer was raised by wolves quite literally, which might account for some of his carnivorous/cannibalistic eating habits. He wants to kill the turkey for Thanksgiving...and can't.
      • His parents (wolves) wanted him to bring an elk home for dinner. Of course, he thought they meant as a date (don't worry, they ended up eating soy elk instead).
      • He joined a herd of cattle at one point, but backed out when he learned that they were going to market.
  • Cast as a Mask: Happens in "Pranksters" with Granny Rocko, voiced by Carlos Alazraqui, whom them rips off her full bodysuit to reveal "she" is actually Filburt, voiced by Doug Lawrence.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: In "Jet Scream", the airplane pilot.
    Pilot: No need to panic; we just temporarily lost power to our, uh, right engine.
    (the plane goes in-between two mountains and loses both its wings)
    Pilot: Oops.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "[X] day/night... is a very dangerous day/night", where [X] is something innocuous like "laundry" or "garbage".
    • "I hate my life."
    • "Turn the page/Dip it in, wash your hands."
      • Another Filburt classic: "I'm nauseous. I'm nauseous."
      • "Oh, boy" is said quite frequently by Filb. It's even on a little poster in "Skid Marks".
      • And whenever things really go wrong, he tends to say, "Oh, fishsticks."
      • In "Fish-'n'-Chumps", Filburt becomes obsessed with his new glow-in-the-dark divers' watch, and constantly asks Hef to "Ask me what time it is!"
    • Dr. Hutchinson has "'Kay?"
    • Heffer has "That was a hoot!" and "ROCKOOOOOO!"
  • Character Development: With Heffer's bad living habits as an arc of deconstruction and character development. In "Bedfellows", we get a good look at Heffer's homebody self as he is forced to live with Rocko; he fouls up the bathroom into a near condemned biohazard, throws parties without Rocko's consent, and plays up the volume way too loud when he is in the mood for musical appreciation, and by the end of the episode, Rocko lets him off with clemency as friends and not so much as a slap on the wrist. By the time the episode "Momma's Boy" comes around, his bad habits come around as Laser-Guided Karma as he becomes tired of his family babying him because of how lazy and spoiled he lives. The next time we see him, Rocko and Filburt see him working at Chewy Chicken as he is on his own. Behind his smiles and easy played nature however, some shots come to show his posterior littered with footmarks as he reveals that he is allowed to live at work on the premises. It appears that pulling off what he did as he lived at Rocko's didn't fly with any other of his friends this time, and his bad habits eventually accumulate to the point that he attracts unwarranted squatters, loses his job, goes homeless, and comes back home having learned the hard way to pull his own weight around.
  • Character Tic:
    • Rocko chuckling, and drumming his fingers together nervously, usually adding a shaky, "Oh my..."
    • Filburt pulling his head and limbs into his shell (being a turtle, naturally), or becoming nauseous (and repeatedly saying so), sometimes even breaking out in measles on the spot.
    • Dr. Hutchinson finishing a sentence with cocking her head to one side and asking, "'Kay?" She probably gets the head-tilting thing from her mother.
    • Mr. Dupette picking his nose. Constantly.
    • Virginia Wolfe randomly squinting and grinding her teeth.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Heffer's priceless facial expression when he says "NAAAKEEED" in the episode "Camera Shy" is the definition of this trope.
  • Christmas Episode: "Rocko's Modern Christmas".
  • Citizenship Marriage: In "Kiss Me, I'm Foreign", Filburt gets unusually into his female persona "Ophelia" as Rocko's wife.
  • Cliffhanger: "Future Schlock" ends with one. Filburt's children taking the Conglom-O rocket into space. At first, they seem to disappear forever, only for them to come back and crash into Rocko's house, which is lifted into space for another 20 or so years. It’s not resolved until “Static Cling”.
    Rocko: So, Filburt, what have you been up to these past seventeen years?
    Filburt: Are you kiddin'?
    Heffer: [singing] Nine hundred ba-zillion bottles of root beer on the wall... Nine hundred ba-zillion bottles of root beer...
  • Clip Its Wings: Occurs in "Jet Scream".
  • Comic-Book Adaptation:
    • Marvel put out seven issues in 1994.
    • A new comic by Boom! Studios started publication in late 2017 and ran for eight issues, followed by a four-issue miniseries titled Rocko's Modern Afterlife that started publication in 2019.
  • Company Town: O-Town is practically run by Thing-O-Matic producer Conglom-O.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: "The Emperor's New Joe" is about this: the Chameleon Bros. want Rocko to like their new cafe's signature coffee, going so far as to tell the long story of it's creation back in their home country, all to basically guilt-trip Rocko's approval out of him. Rocko then launches into a long speech about not succumbing to peer pressure, and how the founding fathers would not have wanted him to be a slave to trends... which eventually gets so preachy that the brothers simply kick him out, telling him that he doesn't have to like the coffee, but should come back next week for the cheesecake. As soon as he's outside, he hears a different customer complaining about the cheesecake and the brothers launching into another backstory, implying that they're just making these stories up.
  • Compressed Vice: Rocko's nail-biting in "Tooth and Nail."
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: When Peaches fails to get Heffer's soul in one episode, his boss punishes him by giving him his own TV show: "Peaches' Modern Life" (Complete with Peaches undergoing the same gags/music style in the theme song for his).
  • Corpsing: An in-universe example with the guy from the Department of Immigration in "Kiss Me, I'm Foreign" who is incapable of staying serious even as he threatens to deport Rocko. Every single scene has him either laughing or suppressing the urge to laugh. The Grim Reaper had to tell him to be quiet during the wedding of Rocko and Filb.
  • Courtroom Episode: "Fly Burgers", along with "Dumbells."
  • Crappy Homemade Gift: In "Speaking Terms", Rocko and Heffer are feuding after Heffer apparently forgot Rocko's birthday and tried to conceal this by making a sculpture out of toothpaste and toilet paper from Rocko's bathroom.
  • Credit Card Plot: "Who Gives a Buck?"
  • Creator Cameo: Joe Murray as Ralph Bighead.
    • And in the same episode, we get to see the storyboard authors discussing the exact same scene as the one Rocko, Filburt, and the tour-guide walked in on.
    • Murray appears as himself at the end of "Short Story" - just to tell Rocko how off-model he was.
  • Creator's Pet: In-Universe example with Filburt towards Mr. Cheese in "Wacky Delly", to the point that all of Cheese's dialogues consists of "I am The Cheese! I am the best character on the show! I am better than both The Salami and The Bologna combined!" repeated over and over.
  • Crush Parade:
    • Happens to Rocko's new glasses in "Eyes Capades", concluding in a little old lady walking over his glasses.
    • Also happens to Filburt in "Power Trip".
    • Rocko gets run over by the elderly in "Cruisin'".
  • Crying a River: In "Hypno-Puppy Luv", Mrs. Bighead befriends a dog that is really Rocko hypnotized (long story). When he runs away (really Heffer and Filbert saving him), Mrs. Bighead is so distraught that the water from her tears breaks the windows and floods her bedroom. Mr. Bighead has to use a boat to reach her and give her a goldfish to calm her down; it wasn't the dog she loved, but it won her heart all the same.
  • Cue the Falling Object: "Who Gives a Buck?": Heffer comments that Rocko could use some new stuff, which Rocko agrees with as behind him, the wallpaper peels away and the TV comes apart.
  • Cult Defector: In "Schnit Heads", Heffer joins a cult that is obsessed with eating sausages. After he gets tired of eating sausages for every meal, he tries to run away, but can't, forcing Rocko and Filburt to rescue him.
  • Curse Cut Short: From "Kiss Me, I'm Foreign":
    Rocko & Filburt: WHAT IN THE HELLLLLL-O....
  • A Day in the Limelight: There are several episodes dedicated to other characters (usually involving Heffer or Mr. Bighead), with little appearance of Rocko, including two where he doesn't appear at all.
    • Filburt has quite a few episodes where he's the one more in focus as early as "Power Trip" where he starts becoming a main character.
    • Even the Chameleon Brothers have an episode centered around them: "The Emperor's New Joe".
    • "Dumbells" is this for Gladys the Hippo Lady.
  • Daydream Surprise: Played straight in "The Lounge Singer". Filburt gets all nervous after his singer idol Buddy Gecko accidentally breaks his Walkman and motivational tapes that have been helping him with his stage fright. Buddy assures him the tapes were all a sham and to go out there, as "what's the worst that could happen?" Filburt goes out on stage and nervously says "Ahem..." but the audience immediately starts booing and Produce Pelting him, and then chase him with Torches and Pitchforks to a windmill, and then a Spinning Paper announces the U.N. declares "Filb" is a menace to society, and they bomb him to death. His gravestone reads "Here Lies FILB, He was a lousy singer". Buddy Gecko then knocks over his gravestone, which is then blown up by lightning. It then ripples back to reality, showing Filburt is alive and well, and had only imagined the whole ordeal, and hasn't gone on stage yet.
  • Death by Irony: In "Rocko's Modern Christmas", the most magical elf of all, Mitch, was the only elf who could make it snow. But he died in a blizzard. Though it turns out he didn't die; he just went into seclusion, due to the lack of Christmas cheer.
  • Demon Head: Rocko in "Rocko's Happy Sack", when he threatens to do something "not nice" if he doesn't get the savings deal.
  • Department of Redundancy Department / Stupid Sexy Flanders: From "Camera Shy":
    Heffer: He's completely... naaaaaakeddddd!
    Filburt: (with sparkling starry eyes) WITH NO CLOTHES ON!
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • Is Ed Bighead a relatively high-ranking Conglom-O employee ("Canned", "I Have No Son"), or a relatively low-ranking one ("Teed Off", "Old Fogey Froggy")?
    • How close are Heffer and Filburt? Half the time, they seem to be buddies, but the other half, Filburt seems to hate Heffer's guts. It's possible that the only thing they even have in common is their mutual friendship with Rocko.
    • Rocko's backstory. Officially, he immigrated to the United States after high school, and maybe had one trip to the country as a childhood that inspired him to do so, but Murray would allow this to be broken if the resulting joke was funny. As such, some flashbacks show him as a child with Filburt as a friend, another has him attending high school with Filburt and Heffer, and another has him spending his scholastic years in Australia.
  • Deranged Animation: The show delves into this trope from time to time. "The Fatheads" and "Wacky Deli" are in-universe examples.
  • Deserted Island: The ending to "Cabin Fever".
  • Desk Sweep of Passion: Bev comes down with an amphibian throat disease after eating an infected mosquito, and requires a tonsillectomy. She also gets a new nose put on (despite being a toad), because someone else's order got attached to hers. She ends up liking the new nose, gets her hair done and buys a new dress, and goes to visit her husband at work. Ed is delighted to see her, and pushes everything off his desk. They don't end up doing it, not only because this is (allegedly) a kids' show, but because Bev can smell Ed now... and he smells bad.
  • Deus ex Machina: In "Schnit-Heads", Rocko, Heffer and Filburt are about to be hit with bowling balls by a group of sausage cultists. At the last moment though, they are saved when The Most Supreme And Mighty King Of Wienersnote  flies in, puts the cultists onto a deserted island, and takes Rocko & the others home.
  • Diegetic Musical: Parodied in the episode "Zanzibar"; the whole town sings a whole song about recycling, and when Rocko asks how they came up with the song on the spot, the townspeople say that they didn't, they practice this song every week.
  • Ding-Dong-Ditch Distraction: In "Dumbells", Heffer and Filburt go on a ding-dong-ditch spree and rope Rocko into it. Rocko knocks on the door of the Hippo Lady, but can't go through with it and apologizes. The Hippo Lady, however, is tickled by the idea and goes on a pranking spree of her own.
  • Dining in the Buff: Happens when Rocko walks downstairs to drink some milk while, as Heffer and Filburt (who are filming him with a video camera) put it, "completely...naaakeeed, with no clothes on".
  • The Dinnermobile:
    • One episode has Rocko and Heffer stop at a roadside diner after losing their car. Heffer wins a Mega Meal Challenge there and the prize is a hot dog-shaped truck.
      "It's a big weenie, on wheels!"
    • Another episode, "Schnit Heads", has Rocko and Filburt make a sausage-deity-shaped Trojan Horse vehicle to rescue Heifer from a cult, but his weight makes the "jaw" fall off and exposes them.
  • Dinner with the Boss: Done with the parasites living on Spunky, whose lives spoofed old sitcoms.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: In "Jet Scream", a skunk exits one of the plane bathrooms.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The entry into the Bermuda Triangle.
  • Disrupting the Theater: In "Popcorn Pandemonium", Rocko and Heffer go to the Googa Plex Cinema, and try to find a good theater to watch Lethal Odor IX in. At one point, they go into an extremely cramped theater with only six seats, and a very large elephant sits in the two empty seats in front of them, blocking their view (he even tells his wife to come in, saying there's plenty of room). In a later scene, Tammy mistakes Rocko for an usher due to him wearing the same shirt as the employees of the cinema and makes him kick a warthog smoking a cigar out of the theater, as she paid good money for her ticket and she doesn't want the warthog's cigar smoke ruining her experience.
  • Dissension Remorse: In the episode "Hut Sut Raw", Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt suffer from lack of food during their camping trip, which eventually results in Heffer and Filburt arguing over who gets to eat Rocko. Immediately, Rocko steps in and tells them that friends don't eat each other. Cue Heffer and Filburt ending their conflict and sharing a hug as they break down in tears.
  • Distant Finale: The final episode took place 17 years in the future, complete with all of the generic Sci-Fi cliches about the future. It stars Filburt's kids, who ask Filburt, who suddenly is a VERY old man (this is lampshaded) about a banana they found in an abandoned house, which happened to be Rocko's. He tells them that a mix-up with a monkey that was intended to be launched into space eventually ended with Rocko, Heffer, Spunky and the monkey travelling aimlessly through the stars.
  • Downer Ending: "Sucker for the Suck-O-Matic" ends with Rocko, Heffer and Spunky sucked up by the Suck-O-Matic and forced to live inside it, while the whole neighborhood is being taken over by Suck-O-Matics.
    • "Uniform Behavior" ends with Heffer in jail for being naked in public. Rocko was about to bail him out, but Heffer pushes his luck and Rocko decides to let him stay in jail.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Mrs. Wolfe.
  • Drop-In Character: Mr. No Way in the last season... however, it's not too noticeable, considering in most episodes, just about every Conglom-O employee (save for Ed) are pretty much clones of Mr. No Way anyway.
  • Drunk on Milk: During Filburt's bachelor party, he, Rocko, and Heffer consume a considerable amount of ice cream, that makes them, especially Heffer, rather loopy... then, the next morning, when Heffer asks for more "hair of the dog", Rocko and Filburt display the symptoms of a hangover (though, to be fair, they COULD just be having really bad sugar-induced headaches, considering how much ice cream they ate).
  • Dude, Where's Our Car?: The overgrown child and his mom on "Who Gives a Buck?"
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: There's a lot, mostly relating to Season 1.
    • The theme song in Season 1 was different.
    • Filburt was a Recurring Extra not yet established as Rocko's other best friend, and Bev was a very flirtatious Dirty Old Woman.
    • Mr. Dupette was the owner of a comic book shop, as opposed to Conglom-O's CEO.
  • Earth Day Episode: "Zanzibar" was made in part of creator Joe Murray and his then-wife being big recyclers, and also because Nickelodeon was on a big environmental kick and wanted their Nicktoons to reflect that.
  • E = MC Hammer: On a flipchart in "Commuted Sentence".
  • Egg MacGuffin: Rocko, Heffer and Filburt have to care for Filburt and Dr. Hutchison's egg while Dr. Hutchison goes off to work.
  • Either/Or Title: "Rocko's Modern Christmas" has the alternate title "You Can't Squeeze Cheer from a Cheese Log".
  • Election Day Episode: "Ed Good, Rocko Bad".
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: In high school, Rocko, Filburt and Heffer took a break from schoolwork to snack on potato chips. Heffer systematically begs for Rocko's chips and takes them all. When it doesn't work, Heffer attacks Filburt and eats them all. Filburt beats the tar out of him off camera.
  • Epic Fail: Ed's performance in his last bowling tournament, which results in a Trauma Conga Line that completely destroys the Bowl-O-Rama building except for the pins he was supposed to hit. All he had to hit to win was one.
  • Episode on a Plane: "Jet Scream".
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Rocko is trying to pick up Spunky from the pound, but the dogcatcher thinks Rocko is another dog. Rocko tries to explain to him that he’s actually a wallaby, which is “like a kangaroo, but smaller.” The dogcatcher accuses him of making it up and locks him up in the pound with the dogs.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Spunky.
  • Everybody Cries:
    • In "Boob Tubed", there is a montage of Rocko, Heffer and Filburt watching different movies together on Rocko's new TV. One scene in said montage involves the trio being reduced to floods of tears by a Spanish-language melodrama. Even Spunky joins in with them!
    • A fake crying variant briefly occurs in "Old Fogey Froggy" when Rocko, Heffer, Filburt, and Mrs. Bighead pretend to cry while holding a fake funeral for Mr. Bighead to cure his midlife crisis.
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: Bagpipes appear a few times in the show, usually as a shorthand for bad or unpleasant music.
  • Evil Debt Collector: The second half of "Who Gives a Buck?" is a big Take That! against debt collectors and their thuggish ways. Not like they don't deserve it.
  • Evil Old Folks: Ed Bighead, no other and he hates his next door neighbor Rocko.
  • Expressive Uvula: In the episode "Cabin Fever", at the end of Ed Bighead's hallucination, zooms down his throat. At that point, his uvula dons Heffer's face and asks him if he's okay.
  • Eye Scream: The show has an enough of this to garner its own page.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • In "Rocko's Happy Sack", a customer mentions to Rocko how he believes the world would be a better place without sea mammals, and that they should round them all up, put them on a boat in the middle of the ocean and sink it halfway. Then the guy next to him, an ape, angrily states, "Hey, buddy, my WIFE'S a sea mammal!" His wife, a manatee, is crying her eyes out before the ape drags the guy off-screen. Cue Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • Grandpa Wolfe HATES beavers.
    • According to Dr. Hutchison's mother, "cats and turtles don't mix." And yet Hutch's father is a turtle...
    • Mr. Bighead's full-blown disdain for elves in the Christmas Episode.
  • Fat and Skinny: Rocko and Heffer; Bloaty and Squirmy take the trope up to eleven.
  • Fat Bastard: Heffer is obese and will inconvenience Rocko with his selfishness every now and then.
  • Fat Best Friend: Heffer is overweight and one of Rocko's closest friends.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: The big problem with "Static Cling" - Filburt and Heffer handle the 21st century as if they haven't left. Rocko can't.
  • Fishing Episode: "Fish-n-Chumps" has Rocko, Heffer and Filburt going fishing, only to discover that the fish are fishing for them.
  • Flashback Effects: Lampshaded in "Future Schlock".
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The bovine Satanic overlord of Heck, who has a bizarrely terrifyingly grotesque set of udders for a skull, is named... Peaches.
  • Forced Transformation: Rocko is transformed into a fly for an episode as punishment for injuring a fly.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Every character has four fingers on each hand.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: Flecko tries to get access to Rocko's high-quality beef in "Fly Burgers" by falsely suing Rocko for injuring him, resulting in Rocko being sentenced to being turned into a fly. The sentence is reversed when it is discovered that Flecko faked his injuries.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the Static Cling trailer, eagle-eyed viewers will notice in the revealing shot of Modern Day O-Town a certain moose scoutmaster lying down in the Bigheads' backyard.
  • Full-Body Disguise: This is utilized in "Pranksters" when Filburt disguises himself as Granny Rocko.
  • Funetik Aksent: While trying to fix Rocko's car in "Manic Mechanics", Heffer reads the service manual with a goofy accent. When Rocko tells him to drop the accent, Heffer responds that the manual is written that way.
  • Funny Animal: Nearly every character on the show is a goofy-looking anthropomorphic animal.
  • Funny Foreigner: The cab driver in "Commuted Sentence".
  • Fun with Flushing: Rocko's pet goldfish is accidentally flushed down the toilet, and gets stuck in the drain pipe for a few years, clogging it up.
  • Furry Confusion: Dogs (like Spunky and Earl) are non-sentient pets of sentient animals. To make matters worse, there ARE sentient dogs. Even Spunky's cavedog ancestor walked upright, on two legs, and had a language. This comes to a head in "Frog's Best Friend", where Spunky appears in a cameo alongside an anthropomorphic dog mailman.
  • G-Rated Sex: Ed and Bev and their plates. That is all.
    • Spunky and the mop. Ew.
  • Gag Censor: Rocko's self-worn censor bar when he strips naked at the nude beach in "Sand in Your Navel". Also, Rocko's weirdly crotch-restricted censor bar when he walks down the staircase nude in "Camera Shy". He also is sent censor bars by his parents to autograph for friends and family.
  • Gassy Gastronomy: In "Bye Bye Birdie", Filburt asks Heffer if he has anything to say during Turdy's funeral. Heffer then proceeds to recite the classic "Beans, Beans" song.
    Heffer: Beans, beans, they're good for your heart, the more you eat-
    Filburt: All right, that's enough of that!
  • Gay Aesop: Rocko suffers this badly in the end of "Closet Clown".
  • Gender Equals Breed: Filburt and Hutchinson's kids... except for one who looks like Heffer. Well, he did warm their eggs. Yes, a turtle and a cat laid hard-shelled eggs that needed to be kept warm; don't delve any further.
  • Giant Hands of Doom: God, "in the show's intro."
  • Godwin's Law: In "Rocko's Happy Sack," Rocko claims to have dealt with a "Gestapo security guard." Since this scene is not actually shown, it is unknown whether or not said security guard is actually a Nazi.
  • Going Postal: "Commuted Sentence" has a postman revealing he was laid off and feeling disgruntled. The other passengers quickly vacate the car... only for him to swing around as he wanted space.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Parodied, natch, in "Spitballs".
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!
  • Grand Finale: See Distant Finale above.
  • Great Big Book of Everything / Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Book Of KNOWLEDGE, which is literally shoved directly into Rocko's brain despite being larger than his body, causing his head to inflate. Not to mention his facial expression in the process...
  • Green Aesop: "Zanzibar". Unlike numerous other examples of this trope, the polluting company (Conglomo-O) is more negligent than malicious or evil, and voluntarily cleans up their act when Rocko and friends bring the pollution issue to their attention.
    • Joe Murray is actually a self-proclaimed environmentalist, meaning he knew exactly what he wanted to say about the issue. In fact, the only reason the episode is a musical was to present an otherwise sincere moral in a way that was still entertaining.
      Captain Compost Heap: So remember, kids - be nice to Mother Nature... or she'll kick our butts!
  • The Grim Reaper: Make that the Grim Recycler, if you will. And he makes a short appearance in "Zanzibar" too.
  • Grocery Store Episode: In "Rocko's Happy Sack", Rocko and Spunky are hungry, out of food, and down to their last three dollars until next week's payday. When Rocko finds out there is a 99% off sale until 12:00 noon at the Heap-O-Food grocery store to celebrate its grand opening, he is determined to beat the clock. Despite all the odds against him (running into Gladys the Hippo Lady repeatedly, having to use a cart with three missing wheels, and having Spunky wrapped in a meat package), Rocko just barely makes the sale, and snaps at Filburt when he charges him full price. At the end of the episode, the trunk of his car pops open and all the groceries spill out.
  • Grossout Show: The show has quite a lot of Toilet Humour.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up
  • Groupie Brigade: "We love WEDGIE BOY!"
  • Growing Up Sucks: The show's intro, not to mention the main plot point of the episode "Old Fogey Froggy".
  • Grumpy Old Man: Grandpa Wolfe has a crotchety attitude and always has a grouchy demeanor.
  • Hair-Trigger Avalanche: Demonstrated in "Cabin Fever" when Ed Bighead causes an avalanche by shouting "PINHEADS!" at the top of his lungs.
  • Halloween Episode: "Sugar Frosted Frights"/"Ed is Dead: A Thriller".
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Rocko usually wears a blue shirt and nothing else; lampooned when he becomes a model for jockey shorts.
  • Happily Married: Ed and Bev Bighead quarrel, but they do genuinely love each other. When Bev got her nose in "Nothing to Sneeze At", Ed was devastated because he stank; losing the nose brought them closer. In "Wacky Delly", Ed chases Bev round while he is inside a hamster ball. Her giggles are hysterical.
    • Filburt and Dr. Hutchison also seem to be happy together.
  • Hates Reading: Inverted in, "Yarnbenders," where Rocko tends to an ill-stricken Filburt, who says his mother used to read to him when he was sick. Played straight with Heffer, who is appalled at the idea of reading and feels Filburt would feel much better if he watched TV instead.
  • Headless Horseman: The legend is parodied with the one-legged "Hopping Hessian" in the episode "Sugar Frosted Frights".
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": From "She's the Toad":
    Filburt: Ed Bighead, I am your conscience!
    Heffer: I'm his conscience too.
    Filburt: What?
    Heffer: Don't say "I," say "we."
    Filburt: What?
    Heffer: We! WE!
    Filburt: Oh, okay. We we!
    Heffer: (laughing) You said wee-wee! Say it again!
    Filburt: Wee-wee! (Heffer laughs again)
  • Height Angst: Rocko suffers dearly from this.
  • Hellevator: In "Carnival Knowledge"—its sign actually labels it an "Elevator to Hell."
  • Hell Is That Noise: Played for laughs where the gang is shown walking in a forest and they suddenly heard a noise, freak out, and shout "What was that?!" Filburt calmly walks past them saying, "Oh, just a twig snapping", which turns out to be true.invoked
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Filburt gets very defensive of his character The Cheese, who is the best character on the shownote  and a possible reference to Filburt's voice actor Mr. Lawrence who is the head writer and got all the funniest jokes.
  • Here We Go Again!: The ending of "Future Schlock". Rocko, Heffer, and Spunky return to Earth after spending seventeen years lost in space, only to end up back into space with Filburt and his children when they attempt to take the rocket for a ride.
  • Heroic BSoD: Heffer has one in the April Fools episode "Pranksters".
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Rocko as depicted in the show's intro, disturbingly enough.
  • Hindenburg Incendiary Principle: "Feisty Geist" has Heffer learn about his past lives when getting his fortune told, and in one past life he was a hungry German passenger aboard the airship Hillenburger (referencing creative director Stephen Hillenburg), where his heavy body weight when running to the back of the zeppelin caused it to descend to the ground in a fiery crash.
  • Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis: Mr. Bighead goes through one in "Old Fogey Froggy".
  • Honest John's Dealership: Rocko and Heffer visit a ski resort where everything is $5. Or rather, every thing is $5.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: The plot to "Fish 'n Chumps": Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt go fishing, but soon realize that they're the ones being fished, by two fish underwater who cast their hooks above water.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "Hut Sut Raw", Rocko claiming that indoor camping is "for lightweights (Rocko and Skinny Filburt), sissies (Rocko, Heffer and Filburt), fat tourists (Heffer and Fat Filburt) and couch potatoes (Rocko, Heffer and Filburt)" and that he, Heffer and Filburt "are none of those things".

    Tropes I-Q 
  • I Am Not Weasel: In a Running Gag Rocko has trouble convincing people he's a wallaby. Heffer's partially blind grandfather constantly mistakes him for a beaver.
    • Heffer and his father also often have to correct people that call Heffer a "cow" that he is technically a steer.
    Dad Wolfe: He's a STEER!!!
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Rocko, after Heffer describes what's in the dinner he made for him. And for the record, the ingredients are: Pickled banana shavings, gym socks, canned haggis, beetle bladders, real processed head cheese, saltpetre, reconstituted corn sweat, the finest barley and hops, potash sulfur, monosodium glutamate, and vegetable cartilage as a binding agent.
    • Basically, Heffer fed Rocko animal innards, potassium-based chemical compounds mostly used in fertilizers, food additives, and two of the main ingredients of beer. Rocko actually liked it before Hef read off his ingredients list.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: Filbert gets high on Halloween candy in "Sugar Frosted Frights".
  • Identifying the Body: Spoofed. When Heffer goes missing, his parents go to a butcher's shop to identify a butchered steer; thankfully, it wasn't him.
  • Ignorant About Fire: In "Popcorn Pandemonium", a fire is ignited in the movie theater. Rocko tries to get everyone's attention, but they just shush him, thinking that it's just the 3D effects. As such, the fire reaches the popcorn machines and popcorn floods the theater.
  • I Have No Son!: A season two episode where Rocko and Filburt search for The Bigheads' estranged son, who now works in Holl-O-Wood as an animation director.
  • I'll Tell You When I've Had Enough!: Said by Heffer in "Who's For Dinner?"
  • I Resemble That Remark!: In "Eyes Capades", Heffer remarks that Rocko is "blind as a bat", when a giant bat approaches Heffer being insulted by that stereotype. After Heff apologizes, the bat suddenly bumps into a wall.
  • Impossible Shadow Puppets: In "Cabin Fever", Mr. Bighead does shadow puppets of the Thinker, a running deer and the Eiffel Tower. Much to his frustration, nobody can guess what they are.
  • In-Universe Soundtrack: The show's distinct background music is notable for, among other things, heavy use of the trombone. In one scene in the series finale, there's a scene in the Bigheads' yard where the trombone music adruptly stops at the same time that Bev speaks. Pan up and we see that Bev has been playing the trombone while sitting in the windowsill the entire time, only stopping to deliver her line.
  • Inherently Funny Words: Heffer gleefully exclaiming the word "Naked" in "Camera Shy". NAAAKEEED!
  • Insistent Terminology: Heffer frequently corrects people who call him a cow ("Steer"). George Wolfe is also ready to correct anyone who does so.
  • Instant Wristwatch: Used in "Carnival Knowledge", "Rocko's Happy Sack", "Popcorn Pandemonium", "Commuted Sentence", and "Rocko's Modern Christmas".
  • Interspecies Adoption: Heffer was originally going to be fattened up and eaten by the Wolfe family, but they grew to love him instead.
  • Interspecies Romance: Filburt and Dr. Hutchinson, along some minor characters.
    Guy in check-out line: [with disgust, to Rocko] Sea mammals. Who needs 'em? This country would be a whole lot better without 'em. In fact, we ought to take all the sea mammals, put 'em in a big boat, send it across the ocean, and sink it halfway.
    Gorilla: [angrily interjecting, with a crying manatee right next to him] Hey, buddy! My wife's a sea mammal!
    [offscreen sound of guy getting his ass kicked]
  • Iris Out
  • Ironic Echo: In "Commuted Sentence", Mr. Smitty shows Rocko a chart that shows that "time=money", as an analogy for why he can't be late for work. At the end of the episode, Mr. Smitty has his car towed and at the impound lot, he tells one of the workers, "I want my car, and I want it NOW!" The guy pulls down the same "time=money" chart.
  • It Came from the Fridge: "Trash-O-Madness" involves Rocko finding something green and slimy in the refrigerator.
  • Jerkass:
    • Ed Bighead has an irrational dislike of Rocko and often goes out of his way to make the wallaby's life a living hell.
    • Slippy the Slug from "Carnival Knowledge", who willingly puts his customers through dangerous rides and rigged carnival games just to make a buck.
    • Rocko's cruel boss, Mr. Smitty, who once had Rocko stay up all night just to fix one minor flaw on each copy of over a thousand comic book covers.
  • Jerkass Ball: Filburt can occasionally lapse into this, too — usually if he's forced to be around Heffer. Not that Filburt needed Heffer's help. In one episode, he seems willing to let Rocko get eaten by a bald eagle in order to steal said eagle's wigs.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Grandpa Wolfe in "Crusin" Part 2, when he saves Rocko from drowning in the ocean.
    • Also Heffer; while he's lazy and selfish, he's shown to really come through for Rocko in times of duress. To give Heff credit, if he's the one who ends up messing something up for Rocko, he'll make up for it without question albeit in unorthodox ways. "Hair Licked" is one of the best episodes that signifies this trope for him. He's responsible for messing up Rocko's hair (albeit unintentionally since he's not the best barber) and his picture at Filburt's (his butt bumped into the fan trying to pick up a cookie) but he was also the one who helped Rock get a better haircut by the Chameleon Brothers and a picture for the newspaper thanks to pushing Rocko's face on the copier. It wasn't the prettiest picture and everyone mocked it but Rocko liked it anyway.
  • Joker Jury: A fly fakes physical injuries to file a lawsuit against Rocko. The entire jury is made up of insects.
  • Kafka Komedy: Rocko just can't seem to catch a break. Partially subverted in that his niceness is not infinite.
  • Kangaroo Court: See above.
  • Karma Houdini: In "Camera Shy" Heffer and Filburt film Rocko sleepwalking naked. This ends up causing a big ordeal for Rocko, but never once do they so much as suffer a lick of guilt for their little prank. Then again, they did have to help erase 10,999 copies of the film which must have taken days to do. (The only copy was given to the Australian Film Festival where it won)
  • Karmic Butt-Monkey: Ed Bighead is an ill-tempered Cranky Neighbor who is rude to Rocko. Ed gets even more slapstick than Rocko does, though, leading him to say his catchphrase, "I hate my life!"
  • Language Fluency Denial: When Heffer and Filburt are on the news after changing their identities, Heffer declares "Me llamo Francois" while Filburt claims that he doesn't speak English.
  • Large Ham:
    • Ed Bighead, without a doubt. "PINHEADDDDDDDS!"
    • The Hippo Lady as well. "HOWW DARRE YOUUU!?"
    • The hot-tempered instructor from "Skid Marks" is also one of these. "As far as I'm concerned, you're all WILD PIIIGS!!!"note 
    • And who could forget the Chameleon Brothers in "Camera Shy"? "OH, LOOK, it's our little FILLLM-MAAAKERS HEERE!!!" "Goofy sound effects? WITH WHIPPED CREEAM ON TOPP!!!" "THAT'S OURR MASSTERPIECE!!" "Everyone who is wishing to look artistic will want one...OF OUR ELEVEN THOUSAND COPIES!!" "EVERYONE is FRAPPING IT to our bought-out FILM! Have an espresso, baaaaaby!"
  • Laser-Guided Broadcast: In an episode, Rocko is upset about the mess in his house and the fact that his old POS vacuum cleaner isn't working. Heffer persuades him to take a break, and Rocko reluctantly agrees, saying, "Sometimes, I believe I was destined to exist in an endless world of filth." The TV then plays a commercial with those Exact Words.
  • Laugh Track: Parodied when the show focuses on Spunky's parasites, Bloaty the tick and Squirmy the ringworm, and they're treated as sitcom buddies. It's only heard on "Dirty Dog", though.
    • There's also one on Ralph's cartoon "The Fatheads", only it's just one guy laughing like crazy, and whenever the Fatheads smile for the camera, traditional sitcom applause is heard.
  • Left the Background Music On
  • Lemony Narrator: In "Popcorn Pandemonium", the trailer voice for "Dracula: Done to Death" states:
    Announcer: It's not new, it's not original... it isn't even very interesting... but it is coming this summer.
  • Let's Meet the Meat: One episode begins with a chicken applying for a job—at a chicken restaurant. You can see her nametag on a package of chicken about five seconds after she gets hired.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded, too.
  • Long List: In "Bedfellows", Heffer rattles off every ingredient in the meal he cooked for Rocko.
    Heffer: There's pickled banana shavings, gym socks, canned haggis, beetle bladder, real processed head cheese, salt peter, reconstituted corn sweat, the finest barley and hops. (the meal comes alive and tries to get away; Heffer stabs it) Hmmm, now where was I. Pot ash, sulfur, mono sodium glutamate, and vegetable cartilage as a binding agent.
  • Lookalike Lovers: Ed and Bev sort of look like clones of each other. Though there is one consistent differences besides their clothes and hair: Bev has fatter arms.
  • Lounge Lizard: Filburt aspires to be one in the style of his idols Jack Walla, Frank Salamander, Johnny Charisma, Bobby Gila, and Buddy Gecko.
  • Lowest Common Denominator: invoked Parodied heavily in "Wacky Delly". In this episode, Ralph Bighead intentionally has Rocko and co. create a sloppily put-together series to get out of his contract, only for the executives and the general public to adore it. Ralph then tries to have the show cancelled by making it more and more lowbrow, only to make it even more popular. It only takes one intellectually improved episode created by Ralph for the show to be hated by the public and immediately cancelled. It's after this that Ralph expresses his frustration with the masses with this...
    Ralph: You cretins! You don't know what art is!!! I'LL SHOW YOU!!!!
  • Mad Doctor: "Skid Marks" has one though he's actually rather friendly and likes to examine eyes with a Jump Scare because it's much easier. Dr. Bendova in "Flu In-U-Enza," however, might actually not be a real doctor but a mental patient if the nurse's dialogue is anything to hint at...
  • May Contain Evil: Numerous CONGLOM-O products in "Canned", including a childrens' water slide with electrified rails and a combination jock strap/jumper cable.
  • Magnum Opus: In "Wacky Delly", successful animator Ralph Bighead wants to get out of the animation business to make "real art", and Hilarity Ensues. The episode ends in a Flash Forward showing Ralph after he has complete his life's master work, a still life of wine and fruit carved into a mountain a la Mount Rushmore. The subtitles tell the viewer that its creation has taken ten years, although judging from Ralph's mop of white hair and long white beard, those years have taken a toll on him.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: In-universe example. Ralph Bighead felt that the world's largest still life sculpture would be his masterpiece, but it turns out that it's not as popular as Wacky Delly was before he got involved in the show.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: The pilot in "Jet Scream". He delivers news about severe plane damage in a very calm manner:
    Pilot: No need to worry, we just lost power to our right engine. (the plane flies between two mountains and loses both of its wings) Oops.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Filburt and Dr. Hutchison's relationship (and later marriage) is not approved by the Widow Hutchison or the clans of cats and turtles because cats and turtles don't mix!
  • Mandatory Line: In "Teed Off", during the climax when Heffer's plane is hit by a piano and descends, everyone starts to scream, including Rocko, sitting in a chair with Spunky at home. He wasn't featured in the episode before that point.
    • Rocko only shows up in the beginning of "An Elk for Heffer" and "Nothing to Sneeze At" with only one or two lines of dialogue.
  • Manly Tears: Anytime Heffer cries, especially during "Who's for Dinner" and "To Heck and Back".
  • Man of a Thousand Voices:
    • In addition to voicing Heffer, Tom Kenny provided the voices for the majority of minor and one-shot characters in the show.
      • And those characters that WEREN'T voiced by him were almost always voiced by Charlie Adler.
    • Linda Wallem voiced practically every female character on this show.
      • This can also be a case of talking to himself, when one considers, with a few exceptions here and there, the series really only utilized five voice actors:
      • Carlos Alazraqui: Rocko, Spunky, Leon, Mr. No Way, Squirmy, Earl the Dog
      • Tom Kenny: Heffer, Chuck, Mr. Smitty, Really Really Big Man, Peaches, Bloaty, Tyrone the Garbage Rat
      • Doug "Mr." Lawrence: Filburt, Peter Wolfe
      • Charlie Adler: Ed Bighead, Bev Bighead, Mr. Dupett, George Wolfe, Grandpa Wolfe, Hippo Lady
      • Linda Wallem: Dr. Hutchinson, Virginia Wolfe, Cindy Wolfe, Tammy Pig
  • Mascot Villain: Edward Bighead.
  • Meaningful Name: "Dr." Bendova apparently practices proctology.
  • Medium-Shift Gag:
    • At one point in "Jet Screamed", Hef and Rocko become Picasso-esque artwork versions of themselves.
    • The live-action meatloaf footage in "Wacky Delly", which was filmed by Joe Murray and Richard LeRoy on Murray's patio.
  • MegaCorp: Conglom-O. Hell, their slogan is "We Own You". It's right on the front of their building. And their logo is the Earth in a martini glass like an olive.
  • Micro Dieting: On one episode, Bev Bighead puts Ed on a diet and serves him cottage cheese for breakfast — a single curd of cottage cheese. Later, she rewards him with a double portion.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: "Fatal Contraption".
  • Misfortune Cookie: Could be considered the Trope Maker. The episode "Fortune Cookie" has Filburt receiving a fortune cookie telling him "Bad luck and extreme misfortune will infest your pathetic soul for all eternity" and him receiving a streak of bad luck shortly after - when he's supposed to be "Mr. Lucky!" for an upcoming game show appearance.
  • Mistaken for Toilet: Inverted in the episode "Popcorn Pandemonium". Moviegoers Rocko and Heffer, desperate to get to their film before the previews are over, enter a dark room and complain that something was spilled on both their seats. A flip of the light switch reveals that they're sitting in urinals in a men's room.
  • Moment Killer: At the end of the big musical number "Spring Cleaning" in "Zanzibar" somebody lets out a great big fart.
  • Mood Whiplash: In "Rocko's Happy Sack," the grocery store butcher wallows in a pool of self-loathing as he evaluates how sucky his life is: he's fat, he's ugly, he's a pig, he's never been married, etc. Then a liver somehow comes to life, crawls out of its packaging, and finds its way to him, which actually breaks him out of his misery, and then believes he's actually got a pretty good life as it is.
  • Mooning: In "Sugar Frosted Frights", one of the slides looked at by Rocko, Heffer, the Hopping Hessian, and Gordon depicts Heffer smiling as he drops his pants to bare his butt to the camera.
  • Movie-Theater Episode: In "Popcorn Pandemonium", Rocko and Heffer treat Mr. Bighead's big-screen TV like a drive-in. After they inadvertently destroy the TV, they go to the Googa Plex Cinema, where every movie playing is Lethal Odor IX. Along the way, they try to find a good viewing room, and watch trailers for upcoming movies, including The Little Poots, Garbage Strike: The Musical, and Dracula: Done to Death.
  • Musical Episode: "Zanzibar".
  • My Beloved Smother: A more mild version, Virginia Wolfe treats her adopted son Heffer like he's still a little kid, but he's is such a Manchild, he doesn't seem to mind... that is until Rocko and Filburt start teasing him about it and calling him a "mama's boy".
  • Naked Freak-Out: In "No Pain, No Gain", Heffer accidentally spills a smoothie on Rocko at a sauna juice bar. He reaches for a towel, and rips it off of Bev Bighead, leaving her naked. She screams and jumps inside of a piano to cover herself.
  • Naked People Are Funny:
    • Rocko has occasionally been subjected to being nude for the sake of a joke, like when Heffer and Filburt videotape him walking down the stairs with no clothes on in "Camera Shy" and the recording ends up becoming part of an art film.
    • "No Pain, No Gain" has two nudity-related jokes, with one bit having Heffer throw a basketball so hard that it destroys the wall of the women's showers, revealing three women who cover their naked bodies in embarrassment, and another gag having Heffer take Mrs. Bighead's towel to wipe up a spilled drink, resulting in Mrs. Bighead running away while using a piano to cover herself.
  • Nature Tinkling: Comes up in "Hut Sut Raw" when Filburt informs Rocko that he needs to use the bathroom and Rocko responds by pointing towards a bush. Filburt is so disgusted by the idea of peeing behind a bush that he chooses to hold it instead.
  • Nervous Wreck: Rocko nearly becomes one of these while trying to prevent the "La Vida Moderne de Pinto" clips (featuring the scene above) from being sold.
    Heffer: I sent a copy of it to the Australian Film Festival.
    Rocko: You did WHAT?!?!?!? (jumps into his own mailbox)
    • The film ended up winning the festival where Rocko's parents saw it and sent him ten dollars to buy a bathrobe.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: Dr. Hutchinson. She started off as a dentist in "Rinse and Spit" (until she got tired of always looking down in the mouth), then a surgeon in "Tickled Pinky" and "Nothing to Sneeze At" (until she just couldn't cut it), then a pharmacist in "Kiss Me, I'm Foreign," and then finally a canine nutrition specialist in "The Fatlands." It's likely her not being so frequent is because she's either going to school to get said new careers or working long hours without a break.
    • Filburt also seems to change his job as well. He was working as a cashier in a grocery store, aspired to be a dentist, worked at Rocko's comic book store as an assistant, selling samples at the grocery store (where he met Heffer), the DMV, a fast food restaurant, and an amateur photographer. His aren't as called out on because he changes easily obtainable and replaceable part-time jobs and his wife changes careers.
  • New Job Episode: "Canned"
  • Nice Mean And In Between: Of the main trio: Rocko is the nice one, Heffer is brash and often inconsiderate and Filburt has his moments when he can act like a jerk, but is mostly pretty neurotic and tolerable otherwise.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Filburt was partly based on Woody Allen.
    • Bev Bighead's "smoker's voice" was based on Harvey Fierstein, whom Charles Adler had superseded in the original production of Torch Song Trilogy.
    • While not a direct impression of him, Rocko's screaming was based on Gene Wilder.
    • Gordon the Foot is Carlos Alazraqui's passable impression of Johnny Carson, while the off-screen voice (later revealed to be the Hopping Hessian) that says "Yes!" whenever he is around is Adler's imitation of Ed McMahon.
  • No-Dialogue Episode: The episode "Fatal Contraption", in which Rocko buys a living food processor, features no dialogue except for an announcer saying "Buy this! Food-O-Matic 2000!"
  • No Macguffin No Winner: Double subverted. Rocko gets two tickets to a wrestling match, with Filburt and Heffer both trying to butter up Rocko to get the other ticket. However, Filburt and Heffer's antics keep getting further and further on Rocko's nerves, especially when the two of them come to blows over it. Eventually, Rocko has enough, saying that he's going to the wrestling match alone. It's subverted when Filburt and Heffer both handcuff themselves to Rocko in an attempt to force the issue, but then double subverted when Rocko just tears both tickets into tiny pieces so none of them get to go.
  • Nonconsensual Pornography: In "Camera Shy", Rocko attempts to film a home movie of his new life in O-Town to send to his parents in Australia. Late one night, Heffer and Filburt film Rocko sleepwalking naked and send their footage to the Chameleon Brothers, who edit it into a fancy arthouse video titled La Vie Moderne De Pinto, which frequently focuses on Rocko's nudity. When Rocko finds out, he is outraged and seeks to find and erase every copy of the film.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Five Fingers of Death. All characters have Four-Fingered Hands.
  • Noodle Incident: Heffer asks Rocko if he's still "peeved about the Poodle Incident" at the beginning of the episode "Manic Mechanic."
  • Nose Nuggets: Mr. Dupet seems to be constantly picking his nose. Sometimes when he's using both hands for something, he'll have one of his employees pick his nose for him.
  • Not Where They Thought: In "Popcorn Pandemonium", Rocko and Heffer run into what they think is one of the cinemas while the lights are off. They sit down and Heffer says his seat is wet. A guy walks in and turns on the lights, revealing that Rocko and Heffer have unknowingly entered the men's restroom and are sitting in urinals.
  • Oblivious Adoption: Heffer was quite literally raised by wolves, and didn't realize this until Rocko pointed it out.
  • Oktoberfest: Heffer joins a cult that is all about schnitzel. (To the point where they consider any other foodstuff, including pizza with sausage on it to be an abomination.) They all wear lederhosen, and the women wear their hair in braids.
  • Old-Timey Cinema Countdown: In many cases when a film reel is being shown (and it's fairly often), the film usually opens with such a countdown leader. In most cases, the countdown is animated in the same style as the rest of the show, but the Wacky Delly pilot opens with Stock Footage of a real universal countdown leader.
  • Once an Episode: A fart noise can be heard. Sometimes more than once per episode, but every episode had at least one.
  • Only Sane Man: Rocko, although even he has his moments.
    • Rocko seems to have problems dealing with frustration and anger, especially in later episodes.
  • Organ Autonomy: The pink appendix in "Tickled Pinky" who goes to Organ-School
  • Out Of Control Popcorn: Near the end of the episode, "Popcorn Pandemonium", Filburt, who works as the projectionist for the Googa Plex cinema, accidentally falls over and leaves his glasses in front of the projector. This causes the projector to set the screen on fire, and the fire makes its way to the popcorn storage room, causing the popcorn to fill up the entire theater, destroying it and making it look like a drive-in. At the end of the episode, as Rocko and Heffer eat the popcorn from the pile that buries them, two of the rat garbagemen from the trailer for Garbage Strike: The Musical refuse to clean up the mess, and why is that? Cause' they're on strike!
  • Over-the-Top Roller Coaster: In the first episode, Rocko and Heffer ride a roller coaster at the carnival that goes through the clouds all the way into space, and when they come back down, the coaster is still under construction.
  • Overly Long Gag: The wheel in "Fortune Cookie" comes off, as a result of Filburt's bad luck, and starts wrecking everyone and everything in the whole world. It eventually comes back to where Filburt's been standing in hope that he'll win... and he does.
  • Overly Pre-Prepared Gag: In "Tooth & Nail", Rocko has an out-of-control nail-biting addiction, and he decides to hide his chewed-up nails from his friends. When Heff and Filb open the door, Heff notices that Rocko has his hands inside a monkey puppet and a ham. Rocko pretends not to notice, but then Filb asks if he is hiding something, to which Rocko replies, "Everybody's got something to hide except for meat and my monkey! Goodbye!"
  • Papa Wolf: George Wolfe, both literally and figuratively. He's very protective of his adopted son when he's not yelling at him.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • Ed dresses as Earl in "Frog's Best Friend".
    • Also Heffer and Filburt dress as Ed in "She's the Toad" which actually works until Hef and Filb gave it away at the very end.
    • Filburt has a pathetic example to pass himself off as Rocko in "Born to Spawn." Heffer actually falls for it though that's mainly because he's staring more at the TV.
  • Parallel Parking: Rocko's boss, Mr. Smitty, does a really poor job of it in "Commuted Sentence", smashing both the front and rear car while pulling in.
    • Virginia also doesn't do such a great job when Rocko teachers her how to drive in "Driving Mrs. Wolfe."
  • Parodies of Fire: Seen in "From Here to Maternity," as Filburt attempts to beat a stork to the O-Town Hospital, when running to the main entrance, everything then goes into slow-motion as a sound-alike of the Chariots of Fire theme plays, as Filburt manages to run ahead of the stork. But then the music stops (with Record Needle Scratch) and the speed returns to normal when the stork catches up and swipes Filburt's glasses so he can't see where he's going.
  • Pilot: "Trash-O-Madness", which was later expanded to 11 minutes and worked into a proper episode opposite "The Good, the Bad, and the Wallaby." It's incredibly Off-Model as a result of all the conflicting art styles.
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: Mr. Bighead sleepwalks and acts out dreams of being a pirate, brought on by going to see a play about pirates with Bev, and thinking back to his first instance of stage fright while performing in the very same play back in grade school.
  • Plane Awful Flight: "Jet Scream" has Rocko endure every bad plane flight cliche known to man, from losing his luggage (it ended up on another planet) to dealing with a bratty kid (the passengers cheer when an exasperated Rocko stuffs him in an overhead bin) to the plane going into a dive.
  • Plumber's Crack: Rocko takes a job as a plumber's assistant after losing his job in "Canned." He is dismayed, however, to find out that his sole responsibility is to pull up the plumber's pants.
    Plumber: Hey, could you get that? Thanks a lot. Hey, could you get that? Thanks a lot. Hey, could you get that? Thanks a lot.
  • Police Code for Everything: "Uniform Behavior". 1041 = Naked Cow in public.
  • Post–Wake-Up Realization: In "Nothing to Sneeze at", Mr. Bighead wakes up and doesn't realize his wife has swollen from sickness until after he walks a few feet away from the bed.
  • Potty Failure: Ed Bighead has one in the episode "Keeping Up With the Bigheads" where he laughs so hard that he wets himself.
  • Promoted Fanboy: In-universe example. Rocko, Filburt, and (not revealed until later) Heffer were big fans of Ralph Bighead's Meet The Fatheads, and gladly accepted Ralph's offer to help him create his new show.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Taken in the most literal and slapstick way possible in the intro.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: From "Skid Marks":

    Tropes R-Z 
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: When Rocko teaches Virginia how to drive in "Driving Mrs. Wolfe," Virginia ends up stopping on a railroad crossing just as a train is coming. Fortunately they were wearing their seatbelts.
  • Raised by Wolves: Heffer is literally raised by a wolf family. Originally, he was going to be fattened and eaten (which explains the "birthmark" of the different cuts of beef on him and why his dad called him "Steak" as a child), but they grew to love him as one of their own.
  • Rapid-Fire "But!": In "Cabin Fever", Ed Bighead is annoyed to find Rocko and Heffer at the same cabin that he and Bev were renting, only to stare in shock at the paper showing his vacation date while repeatedly going "but" when he realizes that he arrived on the wrong month.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: During a jackhammering endorsement, "Big" Biff Benderhaus says the following.
    Biff: House of Jacks is the one, oh yes. *Beat* Smile, point to name. *goes on to do so*
  • Rearrange the Song: The first season had a funky synth-pop theme song with distorted vocals. From season 2 onwards, The B-52s performed a new song based more on Pat Irwin's score for the show.
  • Remember When We Turned Off the Sun?: "Put out to Pasture".
  • Removable Shell: Filburt's shell is the cartoon variety.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Rocko.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: "Bye Bye Birdie" was based on a tabloid story Joe Murray had read about a man who tried hiding his friend's dead dog, which had died while he was pet-sitting, in a suitcase at the bus station because he didn't have the heart to tell the owner.
  • Running Gag: In the first season, there were two beaver hospital lifters who would emerge from an ambulance shouting "Hup hup hup hup hup hup hup hup..." and doing a Bait-and-Switch where they would lift an inanimate object instead of the injured character. For example, in "Carnival Knowledge", after Rocko gets bumped in his bumper car, the beavers carry out the car instead of Rocko.
  • Safe Driving Aesop: Spoofed with a film shown on traffic class which had a crash test done with dummies made out of tomatoes, making for extra gory results.
  • Safety Gear Is Cowardly: Heffer was driving and the seatbelt breaks because he proves to be too fat for it. Heffer dismisses it as seatbelts are for sissies.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Parodied in "Down the Hatch" after the vet finds a vitamin in Spunky's ear.
    Doctor: Here's the problem. That vitamin we were looking for was in his ear all the time!
    Rocko: Great! What does that mean?
    Doctor: It means good ol' Spunky here is gonna be a mommy.
    Rocko: But Spunky's a boy dog.
    Doctor: Oh. Then I guess it means Spunky's fine.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • In "Put Out to Pasture," when Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt are trying to substitute a "potato, water, and lightbulb" experiment, there is a section featuring potato chips. Rocko slowly deals out the chips like poker chips, and while Heffer eats all of his instantly, Filburt plans to eat one potato chip per day. Heffer begs for Rocko's chips, scarfs them down, licks his fingers and his fingers, and starts begging for Filburt's chips. Filburt goes so insane that he starts talking to his own chips. Ironically, this turn of events reveals the setup for a new plan to power the lightbulb by loading Heffer up with potato-related foods
      Filburt: NO NO NO NO NO NO NONONONONONO!!! I got PLANS for these chips! YOU ATE YOURS FAT BOY!!! These babies are MIIINE!!!
      (Heffer fights with Filburt)
      Filburt: YOU FULL YET!?! You've eaten everything in this ROOM! Well, here's the POTATO CHIP BAG! Bet it has some CRUMBS in it!! While you're at it, why don't you eat THIS ENGINE!?! Yeah?!? YOU LIKE THAT?!? YOU LIKE EATING THAT!?! Since you ate the POTATO, YOU CAN EAT THE LIGHTBULB!!!
    • Also happens to Rocko in "With Friends Like These". While handcuffed to both Filburt and Heffer, who want to go to the wrestling match with him, they both unknowingly put him through so much violent abuse, that by the time they get to the stadium to ask for the tickets, Rocko completely loses it.
      Rocko: Let me see now. Where did I put those tickets? Where did I put them? Oh, here are the tickets. Here they are, I found them. I found them (starts ripping them up) here are the tickets, here they are! (throws the shreds in Heffer's face) HERE'S A TICKET FOR YOU!!! (throws the shreds in Filburt's face) AND A TICKET FOR YOU!!!! (throws the shreds in the air) AND TICKETS FOR EVERYBODY!!! NOW WE CAN ALL GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! (short circuits)
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: In "Canned", a pack of Conglom-O experimental gum causes Ed to grow a beehive out of his head, the bees from which sting him until his head inflates and he floats to the ceiling. At the end of the episode, Rocko gives another pack of the bee gum to Mr. Dupette as revenge for him firing Rocko from his old job at the beginning.
  • School Play: "Sailing the Seven Zzz's" reveals Ed Bighead was in a school play about pirates. He totally froze up when it came time to sing a song, then started crying from anxiety.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Turned out he forswore violence and became a monk for a Unicorn-worshiping cult. Filburt and Heffer still beat him up anyways to "avenge" Rocko.
  • Scout-Out: "Belch of Destiny" features the Weasel Scouts.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: In "Nothing to Sneeze At", Ed Bighead screams like a girl after seeing his wife swelled up with green glob.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!
    • Grandpa Wolfe, who yells and is quite openly a Racist Grandpa. Though "Cruisin'" implies there's a Freudian Excuse.
    • Filburt's Crazy Aunt Gretchen, though you'd be grumpy too if you lived all your life in an aquarium tank that you'd long-since outgrown.
    • The Bigheads, although they're middle-aged, not seniors.
  • Seadog Peg Leg: In "Fish n Chumps", former pirate-turned-local mariner Crappy Jack not only had wooden legs, but also wooden arms, and wooden eyes!
  • Seasonal Rot: invoked In "Wacky Delly", Ralph Bighead decides to take over writing of Wacky Delly, which gets the show cancelled. Later, he's seen in the desert after completing his masterpiece. A man walks up to him and asks him if he's seen Wacky Delly.
    Man: The first season, that is, before that new guy ruined it.
  • Self-Deprecation: "Heff in a Handbasket" ends with Peaches becoming the star of his own show called "Peaches' Modern Life", a parody of the show itself. Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt see the show and they all dismiss it as being "boring".
  • Series Continuity Error: Happens on occasion. Some specific examples are as follows:
    • The period of time where Rocko moves from Australia to America isn't always consistent; most of the time, he apparently moved right after graduating high school, however, there's been times where he's had flashbacks that would suggest otherwise, such as going to the same high school as Heffer and Filburt, and even knowing Filburt since they were toddlers.
    • Similarly, continuity is broken in "Put out to Pasture", in which Filburt recalls the first time he met Heffer was when he gave out free samples in a grocery store, however, Rocko recalls meeting him for the first time in high school, with Filburt, who apparently never met Heffer before, but had heard of him.
    • While this can most likely be explained by Early-Installment Weirdness, Mr. Dupette was originally the president of a major comic book store, while Ed was the CEO of Conglom-O, however, afterwards, it's Dupette whose the CEO of Conglom-O, and Ed is just an executive (and Ed's position seems to vary from episode to episode).
    • Although "From Here to Maternity" was produced and originally aired towards the beginning of the fourth season, Nickelodeon reordered the episodes for reruns, making "From Here to Maternity" part of the final episode, which means when watching the show in reruns, Filburt and Dr. Hutchinson's children have already been born before their actual birth.
    • Filburt's appearance outside his shell varies, either his body is as thin as a twig, or is shaped like his shell.
    • One flashback showed that Rocko was a child when he owned Spunky, but another showed him finding Spunky on his doorstep as an adult.
  • Shady Scalper: In "Spitballs", Rocko and Heffer go to a baseball game to get a new foul ball for Rocko to replace the one that was destroyed by Mr. Bighead. When they arrive at the stadium, the game is sold out and the ticket booth closes. Rocko and Heffer then come across Slippy the Slug, who sells them scalped tickets for $50.00 apiece. They soon find out that their seats are beach chairs on top of an extremely tall lighting rig that's even above space satellites and where Rocko would have no chance of catching a foul ball.
  • Shaped Like Itself: From "Dear John":
    Rocko: My living room, it's a bathroom. My closet is a bathroom. My basement is a bathroom! My ballroom is a bathroom! EVEN MY BATHROOM IS A BATHROOM! Well, I guess that's okay.
  • Shout-Out: So many...
    • The opening sequence to the Show Within a Show The Fatheads - where the main characters are assembled in a factory - is copied from the opening sequence to the Canadian sketch comedy You Can't Do That on Television. It also happened to be the first show broadcast on Nickelodeon while in syndication, making this a Mythology Gag as well.
    • In "Popcorn Pandemonium", Heffer and Rocko watch a movie with a gorilla in a space helmet.
      • "Garbage Strike: The Musical" in that same episode is a parody of Newsies.
    • The early supermarket episode featured a butcher lamenting that he'll never be married and will never know true love, a reference to the Ernest Borgnine film Marty.
    • In "Teed Off", Mr. Noway confers with an ominous respirator-equipped villain who wears all black. Noway even seems to get Force-choked at one point while the man addresses him angrily... but it turns out he just had a hairball lodged in his throat.
    • Several to The Rocky Horror Picture Show:
      • In "Manic Mechanic", Filburt proclaims he can take Rocko's broken car and return to it "that spark that is the breath of life itself!"
      • In "Wacky Delly" (part 1), after viewing the series finale of The Fatheads, Ralph Bighead's toadies tell him, "It's a credit to your genius!" "A triumph of your will!" "It's okay!"
    • A pink Enterprise makes an appearance in the episode "A Sucker for the Suck-O-Matic".
    • Bloaty and Squirmy are a clearly meant to be Ralph Cramden and Ed Norton, while the amoebas are Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.
    • In an early episode, Filburt goes on a big speil about how he always wanted to be a chimney sweep which is a clear nod to the Lumberjack Sketch. Rocko cuts him off before he starts singing, however.
      • A newspaper article in "Hair Licked" mentions one "Eric Half-a-Bee".
      • In "Crusin'", Heffer, believing his Grandfather to be dead, says that he has been "taken by the angry sea... flying with the angels now... he's... my ex-grandpa", in reference to the "Dead Parrot" sketch.
    • "Who's For Dinner" has a scene with Heffer stuffing his face at the Night Hawks Cafe.
    • In "Fatal Contraption", when the food processor is walking alone in the desert, a bird runs past him three times, and just later he's getting roasted by a wolf.
    • In "Sugar Frosted Frights", after Filburt goes insane from eating all the candy, he has a hallucination sequence similar to the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence from Fantasia.
      • In its companion episode "Ed Is Dead: A Thriller!", the beginning is a shout-out to the Alfred Hitchcock Presents opening, complete with music. The episode's main plot is a parody of Rear Window and contains numerous shout-outs to that film.
    • A couple of references to Psycho:
      • In the aforementioned "Ed is Dead: A Thriller!", Rocko sneaks into the the Bigheads' basement and sees what appears to be Mr. Bighead seated in a chair with his back to Rocko, similar to Lila finding Bates' mother. Subverted when it actually turns out to be the Bigheads' Angry Guard Dog.
      • In "Road Rash", Rocko and Heffer attempt to spend a night at Bait's Motel:
        Motel Owner: Oh yesss. We have a vacancy. And we have showers in all the rooms. What's that?
        [sees the light on in a nearby house on the hill]
        Motel Owner: Excuse me. [changes into a wig and dress] Coming, Mother! [runs off]
    • "Skid Marks":
      • The clown from the driver's ed film sounds like Roger Rabbit.
      • Also:
        Small boy: My teachers says every time a gas cap is found, an angel gets its wings!
        His father: Your teacher is fulla shot!
    • In "A Sucker for the Suck-o-Matic", Rocko's old dying vacuum cleaner's last saying is "Rosebud", though Rocko misinterprets it as "house crud."
    • Heffer Wolfe's mother is named Virginia.
    • "Junk Junkies" parodies Shane when Heffer and a goon from the pizza company try to intimidate each other as Rocko argues with the delivery driver.
    • "Short Story" has a couple of The Wizard of Oz references, as well as Alice in Wonderland pokes. In particular, in the dream sequence, Rocko says, "Spunky, I have the feeling we're not in O-Town anymore", and when seeing the Mr. Smitty caterpillar, Rocko says, "Now I know we're not in O-Town."
      • "Junk Junkies" also had an "Oz" reference, when an airplane writes in smoke "SURRENDER ROCKO".
    • The title card for "Hair Licked" parodies the poster for the original production of Hair, complete with a Pat Irwin arrangement of "Aquarius".
    • In "Frog's Best Friend", Earl and Mr. Bighead take part in a chase montage that parodies Pac-Man, Bullitt, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Godzilla.
      • The following Mrs. Bighead scene ends with a reference to Gone with the Wind.
      • Later in the same episode, the stand-off between Mrs. Bighead and Earl is accompanied by a Pat Irwin arrangement of the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
    • "Uniform Behavior" has various nods to Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining, including Hef riding a tricycle, the creepy twins, Lloyd the demon bartender, and "Heeeeeeeeere's Heffer!"
    • In "Zanzibar", Ed has his Villain Song, aptly titled "Mr. Bighead (Or: How He Learned to Stop Worrying and Hate the Earth)".
  • Show Within a Show: The Fatheads, which is the main trio's favorite cartoon. It first becomes relevant in "I Have No Son" and continues to make a few background appearances in the series after that.
  • The Slacker: Heffer is so lazy that for him, dropping the remote farther than arm's length from his chair in front of the TV is a major crisis.
  • Slices, Dices, and Makes Julienne Fries: In "Eyes Capades", Dr. MacFropter, the optometrist, claims that the eye lens tester can do this.
  • Spelling Song: From "Zanzibar":
    R-E-C-Y-C-L-E, recycle!
    C-O-N-S-E-R-V-E, conserve!
    Don't you P-O-L-L-U-T-E
    Pollute the river, sky or sea,
    Or else you're gonna get what you deserve!
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To The Ren & Stimpy Show, sort of. While it definitely had its share of gross-out jokes, the vulgarity and political incorrectness was nowhere near as anarchistic as Ren & Stimpy, allowing for more situational comedy and straightforward plots.
  • Springtime for Hitler: "Wacky Deli" to Ralph Bighead. He has Rocko, Hef, and Filburt create a horrid, poorly-drawn cartoon about deli meats in order to get out of his contract, but it ends up being a huge success.
  • Staggered Zoom: Seen in "Sugar Frosted Frights" after Rocko and Heffer remove the sheet Filburt is hiding under and he appears headless (he's actually hiding it under his shell.)
  • Stealth Pun: Rocko going down the stairs naked is a pun on Nude Descending A Staircase. It further works because of Duchamp's love for puns, e.g. L.H.O.O.Q.
  • Stock Footage: "The Fatlands" reused the "Bloaty and Squirmy" intro from "Dirty Dog".
  • Stock Sound Effects: This show had a tendency to use sound effects from the Hanna-Barbera library, even occasional sounds H-B rarely used themselves! There would also be numerous Looney Tunes and Disney sound effects as well (even the Goofy Holler in a few episodes), and even some Peanuts sound effects in the early episodes.
  • Stuff Blowing Up:
    • In "Cabin Fever", Ed attempts to use a makeshift radio to call for help while he and Bev are snowed in with Rocko and Heffer. After the person on the other end misinterprets him, it explodes, leaving him charred.
    • In "Bedfellows," Heffer shows Rocko the dessert he made: "Heffer Soufflé... ala Flambé." When Heffer puts a lit match to the soufflé, it explodes in Rocko's face.
    • In "Carnival Knowledge," Rocko is having difficulty knocking down bottles in a Crappy Carnival game booth. He gets so determined after a few tries he throws the ball so hard it explodes on impact, destroying the booth... but the bottles remain intact.
    • "The Big Question" has Heffer plant a bomb inside a cake, to explode when the cake is cut.
    • In "With Friends Like These," Heffer tries to get Rocko's attention standing outside a movie cinema recalling that one time they went to the movies together. Filburt foils his plan by blowing up the cinema, presumably killing everyone inside, and getting away with doing so.
    • In "Fatal Contraption," the sentient food processor's shenanigans eventually lead to Rocko's house being blown up.
  • Subverted Kids' Show: Zig-zagged. While it had its share of vulgarity, it wasn't necessarily inappropriate for children, who could enjoy the funny visuals and cartoon animals. Most of the humor, however, was a satire of... well, "modern" society, exaggerating such shallow concepts as materialism, capitalism, big business, dating, and things that generally only people in the early twenties or older would really understand (the plot of a twentysomething guy learning to live on his own might make this the first cartoon to tackle the "quarter life crisis") and which will most likely go over kids' headsnote . However, like fellow Nicktoon Rugrats, its cult status came about from how much more its young audience loved it when they grew up and finally got all of the jokes.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Ralph Bighead has a habit of doing this, due to his short temper. Apparently, this was because the crew had never heard Joe Murray raise his voice, and thought it would be funny if he did.
  • Surreal Humor: If someone mentions, "pineapples!", or there is a random montage, or The Fatheads are involved, it is most likely that Doug Lawrence and his twisted brand of humor are behind it.
  • Surreal Music Video: The show's intro, arguably.
  • Take That!:
    • Heffer, to Filburt when they're fighting in "Wacky Delly": "Your cartoons aren't even funny enough to be on The Family Channel!" note 
    • The episode's ending is one to how Fantasia, widely considered to be the first animated "art" film, was a commercial flop.
    • The same episode has a subtle dig at how prevalent The Smurfette Principle was in the 90s, with Rocko creating a character named Betty Baloney and promptly summing up her entire character by saying "she's a girl" and leaving it at that.
  • Talk Show Appearance: In "Speaking Terms," a bad fight leaves Rocko and Heffer unwilling to speak to each other, so they go on the talk show Nosey! to give their sides of the story. However, Nosey clearly wants the two to continue fighting so her show gets good eatings.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: In "Canned", after a giant rhinoceros accidentally swallows Rocko.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Parodied when Filburt and his kids use a Star Trek-like teleporter platform in "Future Schlock"... and arrive ten feet to the left, where they rush down the stairs.
  • Thing-O-Matic: Several times, most obviously in "A Sucker for the Suck-O-Matic".
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: "Bedfellows".
  • Title Drop: From "Wallaby on Wheels":
    Rocko: "I'm a wallaby on wheels!"
  • Training Montage: Heffer and Filbert train Rocko using this trope to become stronger so he can take out an old bully of his. Heffer's overuse of his sports whistle, however, becomes very irritating to Bev Bighead, the viewers and most likely the other neighbors (better mute the sound when this happens) so Bev snatches it out of Heffer's hand in anger and gives him a less-disruptive party blower.
  • Tropey, Come Home: Heffer in "Who's for Dinner?"
  • Tummy Cushion: In "Bedfellows" Rocko's dog Spunky sleeps on Heffer's stomach while he's sleeping on Rocko's bed.
  • Two Decades Behind: Despite being called Rocko's MODERN Life, a lot of old technology and fashions are still highly present. Disco music is still very popular, telephones are all shown with rotary dials and wired, people generally play music on record players, TVs generally still use rabbit-ear antennas, and people often watch movies on old-style movie projectors (even at the cinema in "Popcorn Pandemonium," the projector showing the film is a typical small classroom-style 16mm movie projector instead of one of the bigger 35mm projectors that were in use in real life at the time). Which makes the use of the latest technology and trends in "Static Cling" even more shocking and different to Rocko.
  • Two Halves Make a Plot: The episode "I Have No Son!" had Ed Bighead and Ralph keeping both sides of an old donut related to the event that damaged their relationship.
  • Unintentionally Karmic: Rocko and Boffer can be this to Ed Bighead, causing him headaches and strife. Beverly, on the other hand, adores Rocko, which only annoys Ed even more.
  • Unlucky Everydude: Rocko, without a doubt.
  • Villain Song: Mr. Bighead gets two in the Musical Episode "Zanzibar".
  • Visual Pun: According to "Skid Marks", O-Town has a SWAT Team that is literally armed with fly swatters.
  • Vocal Dissonance: At the end of "Skid Marks", the little boy is first voiced by Carlos Alazraqui when he says, "Daddy, daddy...", but then suddenly changes to Linda Wallem's voice when he says, "...teachers tell me that every time someone gets a gas cap, an angel gets its wings!"
  • Vocal Evolution: Save Charlie Adler, who by that point had 10+ years of experience as a voice actor, this was the first major role for all of the main actors (for Carlos Alazraqui, this was his first audition!) and as such, their characters' voices change significantly over the course of the series.
    • As Season One progresses, Rocko's voice deepens and becomes slightly nasally, but reverts back to his normal voice by Season Two.
    • Heffer's voice is much deeper and a lot more wooden in Season One, and a couple of early Season Two episodes.
    • In his first few appearances, Filburt's voice is much higher (save for "Rocko's Happy Sack", where it's much deeper, and incredibly deadpan).
  • Voicemail Confusion: In "Seat to Stardom," Heffer attempts to call Rocko but gets his answering machine. Its' greeting involves Rocko asking "Hello?" as if he really were answering the phone, then pauses, and then says "This is Rocko. Sorry I can't come to the phone right now," and explains to leave a message and he will get back to him. Of course, Heffer falls for Rocko's fake-out greeting.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Played straight in the early episode "Carnival Knowledge". The puke is drawn rather cartoonishly, however (green with huge un-chewed food chunks visible). The vomiting acted as a transition into the next scene.
    • For context, Rocko had just been thrown off a wild Merry-Go-Round and was already dizzy. Heffer offered him a bite of his hot dog and after taking a huge sniff, Rocko barfed all over the camera.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: This show just LOVES this trope, especially when it involves Filburt being nauseous.
  • Wallabies Represent Australia
  • Way Past the Expiration Date: The tub Rocko finds in his fridge in "Trash-O-Madness" that's so old it's covered in dust and reads "Buy War Bonds". All it contains is a green moldy blob that Spunky finds a good chew toy.
    • Also the refrigerated banana in "Future Schlock."
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy:
    George: Heffer? Apparently, we still love you. Well, that's what your mother says.
  • Wham Line: At the very end of "Sugar-Frosted Frights," after Filburt discovers Rocko and Heffer laughing at funny photos from last Halloween with Gordon the Foot and the Hopping Hessian. The "Wham" part comes when everyone's about to head out for Halloween, only for Filburt to shock them all with an important question:
    Filburt: Who took those pictures?!
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The location Rocko's hometown of O-Town (NOT the one in Florida) is never revealed on the series, though the creator has hinted it's located on the border of Michigan and Ontario, Canada.
  • With Friends Like These...: Filburt and Heffer can be like this to Rocko in their less sympathetic moments. In fact this was actually the title of one episode.
    • Filburt served as this before he got turned/retconned into one of Rocko's friends.
    • Filburt and Heffer never seem very consistent with their friendship, either being very close friends or extremely close to killing each other with them easily betraying each other in the blink of an eye if the situation seems fit.
  • Wild Take: Usually very over-the-top ones at that. They'd have done Tex Avery and Bob Clampett proud.
  • The Worst Seat in the House:
    • "Spitballs" has Rocko and Heffer go to a baseball game in an effort to replace a prized foul ball that he once caught as a kid. It turns out that their seats are beach chairs on top of an extremely tall lighting rig that's even above space satellites and where Rocko would have no chance of catching a foul ball. And wouldn't you just know it, a foul ball does end up flying there long after Rocko and Heffer have abandoned the seats.
    • "Popcorn Pandemonium", which is the sister episode to the aforementioned "Spitballs" has Rocko and Heffer go to the movie theater. The plot of the episode revolves around them trying to find seats that AREN'T this. Among their seats are urinals in the men's restroom, seats in an extremely cramped theater (where an elephant sits in front of them, even telling his wife to come in, saying there's plenty of room), and a seat near a baby who chews on Rocko's eye.
  • Womb Level: Heffer's stomach in "To Heck and Back"
  • World of Ham: A lot of characters, even one-shots, tend to be quite hammy and expressive. Even Rocko himself is no exception at times.
  • Write Who You Know: In-Universe. Ralph Bighead's hit cartoon series Meet The Fatheads is an unflattering caricature of his parents, who are at first devastated but learn to take it in stride once they patch up their relationship with him.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: From "Commuted Sentence", after Rocko scrambles to get to work (after being warned that one more tardy arrival would mean being fired):
    Rocko: Am I on time?
    Mr. Smitty: Actually, you are on time. (Beat) On time... to be... FIRED!!!
  • You Are Worth Hell: Played with. After Heffer "wins" a trip to Heck and learns that's where his deceased grandmother rests, rather than Heaven, Heffer insists on staying in Heck to be with his grandmother, even though Peaches sends him back to earth after Grandma threatens him.
  • Younger Than They Look: Filburt doesn't age well, though that was mostly because Rocko and Heffer were out of town for a while and the stress really got to him (he revealed he was actually 38 years old despite looking like a senior citizen). He's much better when they arrive.

That was a hoot!


Rocko's Modern Life

"Rocko's Modern Life" does have brief vocals singing the name of the show for a few notes throughout the song, but other than that, the rest of the tune is instrumental.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / InstrumentalThemeTune

Media sources: